SchoolArts Magazine

SEP 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 27 E M I LY G R AC E S A N DAG ATA CO N T E M P O R A R Y M I X E D M E D I A A R T I S T L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G Exploring the Spiritual Realm through Mixed Media T o see brilliant examples of contemporary mixed media, we need look no further than the artwork of Emily Sandagata. She works in the grey areas between paint - ing, sculpture, textiles, and collage to create unique pieces that include found objects, natural objects, or as she describes them, "forgotten and abandoned things." Her work brings new life into these objects while exploring the spiri - tual world (cycles of life and death, growth and decay), and reacting to the challenges of contemporary life. Her series of large face paintings may look like nonobjective works from close up, but the facial features slowly emerge as the viewer moves farther away. Her work is developed instinctively and intuitively, without a preplanned outcome. Sandagata represents a trend among mixed-media artists to invest their abstract work with narrative and personal meaning that does not overwhelm a visually compelling mode of expression. A History of Mixed Media Mixed media evolved as an art form during the twentieth century and has flourished in the twenty-first century. The term became mainstream after 1912, when Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) created what has been considered the first painting that included collage (Still Life with Chair Caning), but which was actually an assemblage of two- dimensional and three-dimensional elements. Because that work is considered a painting, the term mixed media origi- nally referred to works of either painting or sculpture that used a variety of different elements, such as paintings of oil, gouache, pencil, and encaustic, or sculptures of wood, plastic, metal and objects. Beyond Mixed Media Surrealist artists greatly expanded the definition of mixed media in the remarkable collage/assemblages of Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948), to which the works of Sandagata has a strong affinity. In her intensely personal, highly charged combination of diverse elements, Sandagata's work also reflects the spiritual intensity of the assem - blages of American Surrealist Joseph Cornell (1903–1972). In monumentality and complexity, Sandagata's works certainly stand up to the "combine paintings" of Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008). About the Artist Sandagata grew up in Templeton, Massachusetts, and graduated from UMass Dartmouth with a BFA in Textile Design and Painting. She holds a Master's in Art Education from Maryland Institute College of Art, and exhibits her work regularly. She teaches Pre-K through fifth-grade art at the Pike School in Andover, Massachusetts. Left: Artist Emily Sandagata working on a new sculpture in her Lowell, Massachusetts, studio. Right: Emily Grace Sandagata, Sister Ophelia (detail), 2015.

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